Kehr Capsule of the Week: The Rules of the Game (1939)

Its Paris opening in 1939 was a disaster: the film was withdrawn, recut, and eventually banned by the occupying forces for its “demoralizing” effects. It was not shown again in its complete form until 1965, when it became clear that here, perhaps, was the greatest film ever made. “The rules of the game,” said Jean Renoir, “are those which must be observed in society if one wishes to avoid being crushed.” His protagonist, a pilot (Roland Toutain), breaks the rules: he believes that his love for a wealthy married woman (Nora Gregor) is strong enough to lift him above society, above morality. At a weekend hunting party, he learns it is not—that nothing is. With Marcel Dalio, Mila Parely, Gaston Modot, and Renoir himself. In French with subtitles. 110 min.

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